Today Is Your Performance!


Dreamed I was in a large rehearsal room. There was about thirty people with musical instruments; most were string instruments. They were each practicing a solo, so it was pretty cacophonous. What they were practicing was really virtuosic material; sounded really technically difficult.

Finally, somebody walked up to me and said, “Today is your performance.”

And I said, ” Wait a minute; I’m not really ready for a performance today”

And the guy (the coordinator) said, “You really can’t put this off anymore. It has to be today”

He handed me a sheet and I said, “Wait a minute….”

but he walked away.

So I read the sheet, and it kept referring to the performance as a recital or a competition or an audition.

It was the guidelines of the performance: It said your performance had to be about 15 minutes, and they preferred to hear sonatas, but not ones that were too “long or boring”.

So I wondered where a singer would fit into all this. So thought of my repertoire and thought of some arias that would fit in the fifteen minute parameters, that would contrast well and could be done back to back. But maybe they wanted to hear something else, like a song cycle or even a solo excerpt from a master work, or…… who knows. And was I going to get an accompanist?

So I went back to the coordinator, and asked him what they wanted of vocalists.

He said, “They want to hear you play violin first, but if they’re interested they will hear you sing”.

I said, “You know, it has been quite awhile since I’ve played violin, and honestly, I have never played at this level.”

He said, “Well, it is very important you give a good performance and make no mistakes.”

I realized I was absolutely fucked, but I took a look at the “Performance Guidelines” sheet, and found this paragraph:

“You will find we are a most difficult and demanding group before whom to perform. If at any time, we are displeased with your presentation, we will decide to vaporize you”

So I went back to the coordinator, who seemed annoyed at all my questions, and shared my concern about that paragraph.

“What’s this about getting vaporized?”

The coordinator answered,”Oh, they only do that to people who are out of practice”.

I told him I was going to grab something to eat before my performance, but what I was really going to do was try to get an emergency coaching session so I could put together a program for the vocal part of the audition/competition/recital; whatever it was.

I figured the string portion of the performance was a lost cause, but perhaps I might be able to save my skin with a few arias, but I sure as hell didn’t want to wing it. As soon as I got outside, I would call every coach I knew and see it they could fit me in last minute.

Once I got outside, I realized I had been in the Academy of Arts and Letters on 155th & Broadway, and the performance was going to be in the underground theatre there. I also noticed there was a big, old-school smokestack sticking up, like something you’d see outside of a mill.

It then blew out this big billow of smoke, and somebody on the street commented, “Hey, looks like somebody was out of practice!”

I realized just how utterly fucked I was before I woke up.


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